Grace United Methodist Church would not be here if it were not for the vision of Rev. James Bartlett, who was the pastor at First United Methodist Church of Cocoa, eventually known as “The Open Door.” Our first worship services were held at the Barn theater on Hwy. 520 with approximately 100 people attending.
With a $17,000 donation by the Church Builder’s from the Orlando district we purchased 4.5 acres of land and began to build our church. Services continued at the Barn theater until April 1, 1962, when we were able to worship in the newly built sanctuary which now functions as our Fellowship Hall.
We were formally organized on February 26, 1961 and our name, “Grace” was established by our then District Superintendent Dr. Bruce F. Gannaway. We wouldn’t be Methodists, however, without a committee. So on February 27, 1961, our first official board meeting was convened with Don Merritt as Chairman.
In September of 1963, a group of mothers led by Peggy Merritt spearheaded the formation of a weekday Kindergarten and our Preschool was begun. It continues to serve the smallest members of our community, preparing them for their future success in the local private and public school systems.
Throughout the 1960’s the church continued to grow and thrive and began building education wings. By 1965 a long range planning committee was formed to ensure serving the future needs of this growing church community. Finally, on May 9. 1982, we broke ground for the new and larger church sanctuary. This is the sanctuary we use today.
Throughout the years we have weathered lots of storms but the hurricanes of 2004 proved too much for our 1960 vintage education buildings and they sustained severe damage. Brevard County had the buildings condemned and the church began the process of rebuilding. In 2007 we moved into our new Education and Administrative building which helps us better serve the Merritt Island community.
In the summer of 2019, our intertwined history with First United Methodist Cocoa – Open Door came full circle as that congregation made the heart-wrenching decision to close its Cocoa church and merge with Grace. Our church that First Methodist helped create all those years ago is now stronger than ever as we serve the needs of our growing congregation and local community.
We continue to look toward the future as we seek ways God is inviting us into His Kingdom as we live and work in Merritt Island. We invite you to join us as we serve Him in our vision to “Build Bridges Between Christ and Our Community.”